x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Pakistan cannot become top side while playing home games in UAE, admits Misbah

The Pakistan captain, who saw his side beaten by South Africa yesterday, believes his players cannot reach their full potential while not being permitted to play touring sides in their own country.

Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq.
Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq.

Misbah-ul-Haq has again warned that Pakistan's hopes of becoming the top Test nation in cricket are being hindered by having to play their home games in the UAE.

Security concerns following an armed attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in Pakistan four years ago have forced Pakistan to play their home matches outside their own country - mainly at grounds in the Emirates.

And the Pakistan captain, who saw his side beaten by South Africa yesterday in the second match of their three-Test series, said the exile has had a significant effect on the country's hopes of reaching the top of the test rankings.

"There is no doubt that this is a problem for us, it is difficult to be the top cricket team in the world when you do not play in your home conditions," he said.

Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah have all hosted 'home' matches for Pakistan since the attack. There was hope that Bangladesh would tour last month, but that too has been shelved over safety concerns.

Misbah added that the fact his side played just six test matches in 2012 gave little opportunity for the players to gain experience in the longer form of the game.

"We have played some very good Test cricket in the last two-and-a-half years, but not enough matches," he said.

"If you look at the experience in this South African side, they have players with over 100 matches and others with more than 50.

"Because we have not played much, our team has players with just a few games and little experience. That makes it difficult to compete."

Graeme Smith, the South African captain, offered his sympathy over the tourists' plight, but admitted he not tour Pakistan if a proposed visit was put forward.

"I have been to Pakistan five times in the past, but I would have serious concerns as to my safety going there under present circumstances," he added.

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